“There’s no ‘I’ in ‘Team’.”
Have you heard that one? I’m sure you have and there’s a lot of truth in it. Together, we really can accomplish more.
Many a leader has reminded us all: if you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go with a team.
Teams have a purpose, vision, and methodology that is agreed upon.
The church of the Lord Jesus is no different. The Apostle and Church Planter Paul is finishing up his letter to the Christians in the Roman city of Philippi when he writes in Philippians 4:18-20:
18 I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. 19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
20 To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Philippians 4:18-20, NIV
The imprisoned Apostle of Jesus viewed the financial support provided by way of the visit of Epaphroditus as a spiritual sacrifice. Their act of worship before the Lord was laid on Heaven’s alter where the Lord was glorified by their selfless act of surrender on behalf of Paul.
Verses 18 and 19 provide this beautiful comparison: the Philippian Christians provide his needs and the Lord would provide their needs. The context is while they were ministering to Paul, the Lord would minister to them.
Ultimately, whether the needs were Paul’s or the church’s in Philippi, the Lord provided for them not out of poverty, but out of His riches.
Verse 19 gets misquoted and misunderstood more often than it should. It’s not a promise that Christians will not experience seasons of need; we only need to open our eyes and we will find ample examples of this.
What it does say is this: God’s people (as a whole) will be supplied by the Lord for the purpose of fulfilling His mission for us.
The Church has a mandate from the Lord Jesus: 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:19–20).
The offer from Heaven is to enrichen His church so it may go about the work of evangelism. That’s the purpose of the Church. We’re only here as Christians because Christians before us believed this. The “team” doesn’t have “I” in it.
It’s about “us” doing His work.
The reason for our provision is not so we can strut the amount of stuff we have. The reason for the Church’s provision is so we have what we need in order to reach more people for Jesus.
We’re soon to end our study in Philippians.
I’d greatly appreciate your thoughts on where we should go next.
Want more like this? Consider my book: 31 Days of Spiritual Wisdom: A Month in the Proverbs. It is often said: knowledge knows a snake is in the grass and wisdom is staying out of the grass. While that creates a good working definition, there is undoubtedly more to applying knowledge than that. Moving through a selection of verses from a chapter of Proverbs for every day of the month, I walk readers through a journey of spiritual formation applicable to everyday life. The goal? Knowing how to apply the wisdom of Scripture so we grow in our faith, become wiser, and show the world the life-changing power of Jesus.